Friday, July 27, 2012

Kindle covers

Hi, I'm so glad you're back! :) If not, then welcome! :) 
In my absence I managed to whip up a couple of zipped kindle covers as presents to send them away as gifts. First came the frustration when I tried to quilt them before assembly and my sewing machine refused to cooperate. It was shredding the tread first when I used Coats and Clark. Since I know it's not the top brand that would be everybody's first choice  I switched to Superior thread variegated, but still had the same problem. And besides the thread breaks I had skipped stitches. I have to mention that I was free motion quilting with the feed dogs down and stitch length set to 0. My half-front looked like this:

Yes, it's orange... since I didn't grow up with Halloween, I like orange. A lot! So does my stepson's mother who it is for. Yes, I'm nice enough to sew for her, She's kind of nice. 
Frustrations were building up with the skipped stitches, I started to question myself. I didn't really understand what's going on, I just finished a baby quilt on this machine without any problems. I researched what could cause the skipping and it was kind of obvious that I needed to change the needle. Check. It was still skipping and breaking the thread. After trying on 3 different parts of the cover I just gave up and wound bobbins for my other Singer and started to work on the projects. I wasted probably a good 3 hours. I thought I could be finished by then. WRONG! :)
In the beginning I decided on the quilting because I was catching up on Leah Day's Free Motion Quilt Along videos (at  least the watching part). I really wanted to try the sharp stippling and the circuit board techniques. I think my frustration with the machine is understandable, right?
Anyway... I sewed them and they were the perfect size and that made me very happy. I was using this Youtube video tutorial. It's really easy and I think She explains things very well. They came out pretty nice, I was happy with the result. Hope the recipients will like it too!

Side 1 with sharp stippling:
Lined zipped pouch for kindle

Side 2 with circuit board:

Inside is one of my favorite fabrics:

Side 1 with  sharp stippling:

Sice 2 with  regular stippling:
Lined zipper pouch for kindle


I actually messed up because I wanted to sew this floral fabric to the inside of the other one, but I think it even looks better this way. There's always a reason!

I'm linking up to Fabric Tuesdays @ Quilt Story.

'Til we blog again! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Do you Zentangle?

Hello my wonderful readers!
I'm away from the headquarters on house sitting duty for my friends until a week from Monday so I'll probably not get much done in the sewing department. I thought of doing something else that doesn't require the sewing machine. I brought my Grandmother's flower garden quilt with me which I haven't had a chance to spread out. Yet. Also brought a book which is called Zentangle Basics by Suzanne McNeill. 
This is what the cover looks like:

It's not a thick book, only 19 pages, but I like the ideas in it to create your own zentangle. I was thinking that I  could use this method in machine quilting to divide up the quilt into different sections and then quilt each section with different motives (is that the right spelling?). 
Anyway... It was a beautiful sunny  morning and I took the woofies out to the backyard to run around and while they were out there I sat down on the patio and started the drawing. I started to read the book last night, but realized that I'll have to do the drawing at the same time because I will not remember all I've read if I didn't put it on paper. 

Here's what I came up with:

Okay... so the square is a little crooked and I didn't have a ruler to correct it. It was just a freehand thing, didn't even have an eraser to erase the pencil marks outside of the square. You get the picture :) The instructions are calling for a 3.5" x 3.5" square, I think mine is more like 4-ish. 
I spent the majority of my afternoon with ironing some fabrics while watching Shawshank Redemption on A&E. Boy, I love Morgan Freeman! :) The way he narrates, has a calming  effect on me. 
When the movie was over Criminal Minds came on. I am a HUGE CSI fan and I heard about Criminal Minds, but have never seen any episodes. I really liked it, I watched about 4-5 of them. I was lucky to watch it on Tivo so I could skip the commercials.
That's all for now, I just wanted to post this little "artwork" I did so maybe someone else will try it. I found two videos up on  Youtube if you want  to watch how to use this method. This video is by the author demonstrating her technique. She suggest a 0.1 micron pen, I did mine with the thin sharpie and worked just fine.
'Til we blog again! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let's get Acquainted! blog hop

Wonderful Beth at Plum and June organized the Let's Get Acquainted! blog hop for bloggers like me to get some more new readers, hats off to you, Beth! I'm not sure if I would be capable of organizing an event like this one :)

Plum and June

Today it's my turn to  introduce myself and post a project tutorial.
Hi, I'm Kati :) Nice to meet  you all! :) I just turned 40 in January and live 45 minutes north of New York City with my Fiance and 2 kitties. I only started blogging in the end of January after listening to someone's podcast (I can't remember who it was) on insisting to catalog your work. I have a little quilting journal, but it's missing some photos so I figured it would be better to store my quilts digitally anyways :) After Rhonda from  the Quilter in the Gap podcast kept talking about the blogs She was reading I started to read blogs and decided that I wanted to start my own. 
So first I'll answer some questions Beth suggested so you get to know me a little better :)

How long have you been quilting? 
I started quilting in 2002 after watching Simply Quilts on TV for about 6 months.

Favorite blogging tip?
Don't just sit down and try to  write a  blogpost without thinking about it before  because it doesn't work. Ask me  how I know :)

Favorite  style of fabric?
I prefer the look of modern fabrics  a lot, but also crazy about batiks  and I love the look of the 30-s repro fabrics.

Technique you'd like to learn?
Needle turn applique

Favorite craft book?
I just recommended it on my blog, my new very favorite is Angela Walters: Free  Motion Quilting with Angela Walters

Favorite book?
Lord of The Rings and Cobbled Court Novels

Favorite children't book?
Grimm Fairy Tales, Winnie the Pooh

Favorite quilting tool?
My Olfa frosted rulers. They don't move.

Favorite music to listen to while quilting?
It varies what I'm in the mood for... Lifescapes (from Target) are my favorites, but like to listen to country music too.

Favorite TV show while hand stitching?
Downton Abbey

Binding - by hand or machine?
When I have enough time, definitely by hand. When it's crunch time  I do it by  machine.

I was inspired to make some Dresden plates by my fellow blogger,  Marion @My Quilt Diet blog. She made a very cute table runner that I loved and I was in a need of making a baby quilt and thought it would be a cute pattern.
I have the Marti Mitchell Dresden ruler and I was using that for this tutorial.  I needed 16 petals as oppose to the EZ Dresden Ruler's 20. You'll need to use your ruler accordingly. My block is 12" finished. I made my block scrappy looking so I used 12 different fabrics. The tutorial is for making 1 block. Please read the instructions before you  start your project!

To start the petals I cut scan 4 3/8 strips  of the pink fabrics.
I'd put the ruler with the 10.5" strip width top and 10.5" strip width bottom lines on the edge of the strip.
How to make a perfect circle

After cutting the first shape you'll need to turn the ruler upside down to make the next cut and keep alternating. You'll have a stack of petal shapes like this:

Yes, He was helping again... Box cat :)

I arranged the different fabrics:

To make the petals you'll need to fold each "tumbler" in half right sides together, crease with your nails carefully and sew across the wider end with a 1/4 seam allowance.

I chain pieced mines:

When all is sewn I'd cut the thread with scissors:

Cut a small slit up to the sewing line, but not through the stitches:

I put my left  index finger inside and finger pressed with my right thumb (I'm right handed) holding the end with my left.

All the petals stacked by fabrics:

Turn them inside out, pushing the corners with a blunt end tool (it could be knitting needle, or in this case that purple thang).

When this step is done, you'll need to press each of them making sure you line up the stitching line with the crease in the middle to make sure the seam is in the middle and the petal is not wonky.

Next step is sewing the petals right sides together. Make sure you start from the top finished edge and go toward the bottom. If the bottom doesn't line up, no worries, it will be covered by the center circle.

Press and starch, then pin the petal circle on the background fabric trying to keep it in the middle. To achieve that fold the background square in 4 and press with your fingers. When you unfold it you can line up the lines with the seam lines of the petals. Sew  them on the background fabric with the stitch of your choice. I'd cut the background 1/2" larger than necessary to 13". I did the applique by hand with a matching pink thread using blind stitches and trimmed the block to 12.5" at the end.

For  the middle circle I made a 4" circle template out of a cereal box. No, I don't have any template plastic in stock since I hardly do applique. That will change in the  near future:) I cut the circle fabric about 3/8 inches bigger than the template.

Run some gathering stitches around about 1/8 inch from the edge . Leave about a 4-5 inch tail of the thread.

Carefully holding the end of the thread, gather the stitches around the cardboard template, trying to position it in the middle.

Spray with starch.That's right, mine is swimming :)

To not scorch your pressing surface and avoid flaking, put the circle in the middle of a scrap fabric (I prefer white for no color transfer, thank you!) Press. I used no steam. Make sure to press until the starch is all dry.

Carefully peel the fabric off the template.

Gather the stitches back to a circle by pulling the thread very gently. Press from both sides.

And voila! You have the perfect circle! Applique it on the middle of the block with the method of your choice. I again used hand applique with blind stitches.

Your block should look like this:

Okay... minus the kitty paws! Aren't they adorable? I call them bunny paws :)

Yes, I had a helper with pressing. One of them always volunteers when I stand up from my chair to do some cutting or pressing.

In case you missed the  last posts, on July 12 they were:
Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade  made an awesome tutorial for travel Bingo!
Marti from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks wrote a tutorial for "Take four" place mat. I really love her color choices :)

Today's fellow bloggers with me are:
Claire from Sewing Over Pins and
Caroline from Quilting in the Cold.
Please don't forget to hop on over and check out their blog posts and what they have to say and show. Also we all love to get comments! :)

Next bloggers on July 19 are the following:
Jamie from Sweet Baby Jamie
Janine from Rainbow Hare Quilts

Thank you for bearing with me all the way to the end! I know it's a marathon blogpost, but by the time I realized that I should've made something easier, like the 3-D pinwheels I invested too much work in the Dresdens. Oh well, I can write that one later. Let me know if you're interested!

'Til we blog again! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chilling in Vermont

I haven't got too much sewing done lately, but I wanted to share our next to last trip's (WARNING: LOTS OF!) pictures which were taken in Vermont. We spent roughly 4 hours in the car each way, so I could listen to some podcasts while adoring the view. We took the back roads through the little towns instead of the highway and it was well worth it. The towns we passed are gorgeous, it was nice to smell the cut grass and see the cows and horses on the luscious fields. It was surprising though that the rivers/creeks had very little water, we could see the huge rocks on the bottom instead of rushing waters.
We picked weekdays since all of us were on vacation and didn't want to deal with the weekend crowds. Left our house on Monday around 10 AM and arrived at Mt. Snow in the early afternoon. We  were  planning to do some hiking and relaxing :) As it turned out we were the only guests in a 14-room inn and we could even convince the innkeeper lady to upgrade our reservation to a mountain/lake view room free of charge. Not bad!

Wednesday we'd set out to explore the hills of Mount Snow. With the 2 boys' enthusiasm we picked the challenging trail which was the second hardest out of all of them to get to the top. We left from the Grand Summit Lodge and started hiking in a good pace.

Half way to the top:

In the last 1/4 of the way we met some really nasty mosquitoes and black flies and at one point I had to put my hoodie on to prevent mosquito bites. The weather was sunny with a few clouds in the upper 80-s.

Finally we got to the top in about an hour and a half and the view was gorgeous:

We had lunch on the Summit Lodge's deck since the lodge itself was closed for the summer.

I had dirt in my shoe, my socks, and up to my knees. I felt like a pig...

Part of downhill we took the mountain bikers' trail and were just running down because it seemed a lot easier than trying to keep our balance on the rocky road. We made the whole trip in 4 hours with shaky legs and very thirsty. :) Apparently our water supply was just not enough.

After we got back to the hotel we relaxed a little and decided to go for a ride around the area. There's a very nice National Forest and that's where we headed. The views were spectacular.

Can you tell how clean the water is?

We saw some of these too:

The next day we went to check out Grout Pond:

We even found a hand well which I forgot to take a picture of...
The boys gathered some firewood so we could build a fire back at the inn and gaze at the beautiful stars. 

We started right after sunset:

When it was time to put new logs on the fire the sparks just flew all over:
 I love this picture, it looks like an abstract art piece.

And the breath-taking Milky Way:

On our way home we wanted to stop at the Battle Monument in Bennington. We went there 2 years ago, but it was in March and they don't open until the middle of April.

We were up 20 stories high:

View from the top of the monument:

There was an absolutely gorgeously painted moose:

We found a very nice farm in Massachusetts next to the road where you could pick your own blueberries.
They were nice and  plump (phone picture, not so good):

We picked this much (6 pints to be exact):

We got home around 4 o'clock, the kitties were over the moon to see us :))

On Friday to keep busy, Fiance insisted to go wild raspberry picking and to make some jam in the evening. There's not a dull moment at our house!

They weighed about 10 lbs when  they were all done :

I didn't go picking, instead had to put away all the stuff from the trip and prepare the jars for the jam. We forgot to count how many we made, but around 20 8 oz. jars and 3-4 15 oz.

Now I'll have to get my Tuesday blogpost ready since we'll be away again (UGH) and I can't miss that.
Hope You'll like the pictures and it wasn't too boring :)

'Til we blog again! :)